Evaluating Websites
Basic Guidelines | Introduction to Students | Additional Resources

    As the Internet becomes a more important part of teaching and more accessible to students, teachers need to be more aware of the importance of teaching students to be critical of the web.  Students need to realize that just as not everything seen on television or read in newspapers is true, not everything found on the Internet is true.  As students are introduced to the Internet, they should be made aware of website evaluation.

Use these basic evaluation guidelines (or others from the resources below) when surfing the Internet.

Green VW Beetle  CARS Checklist (from Evaluating Internet Research Sources by Robert Harris
(CARS = Credibility, Accuracy, Reasonableness, Support)
the letter C Credibility
  • Is an author listed?  What are the author's credentials?  Can the author be reached for questions or comments?
  • Is there evidence of positive peer evaluation?
  • Has the author taken care to check for misspelling, poor grammar, etc.?
  • the letter AAccuracy
  • Is the date of the site current?
  • Is the information complete and not too vague?
  • Does the author acknowledge all views?
  • the letter RReasonableness
  • Is the author fair and objective?
  • Is the author concerned with the truth?
  • the letter SSupport
  • Does the author provide support for the information?
  • Are the sources listed?
  • Are there other resources with similar information?
  • The following may also be considered when evaluating websites.
    Design &
  • Are the pictures relevant and clear?
  • Are the pages easy to maneuver?
  • Have the colors been chosen well?
  • Do the links work?
  • Does the page load relatively quickly?
  • * See handbook sections Resource Site Evaluation and Web Project Evaluation for examples of the CARS evaluation method.
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    Following are some suggestions for introducing students to website evaluation -
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    Some Evaluation Resources
    The Internet Detective
    This online tutorial teaches students to be effective web readers.  It is especially good for older students.  Note:  The user must have an email address.
    Evaluating Web Resources
    Sponsored by the Widener University Wolfgang Memorial Library.  This site explains different methods of evaluating different types of websites, from personal to informational, etc. (WARNING:  Be sure to check out the site ahead of time. Some of the links may not be suitable for unsupervised surfing.)
    An Educators' Guide to Credibility and Web Evaluation 
    This site was created by a group of U of I grad students and contains information on Why to Evaluate, Methods of Evaluation, and Teaching Web Evaluation.
    Evaluating Online Resources Notebook
    This UIS website provides many links for website evaluation, as well as instructions for a "nifty" way to check "Who Has Already Validated the Site?"
    Evaluating Internet Research Sources by Robert Harris
    Discusses the easy to use "CARS Checklist" that was summerized in the above section.
    Evaluating Information Found on the World Wide Web
    Provides a chart about domain extensions (.gov .edu .com) and describes the POSSIBLE information one could find there.
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